Cells in our body perform complex tasks, including movement across tissues, adhesion to polymeric scaffolds in the body and the sensing of chemical and mechanical signals. These complex processes depend in large part on the intracellular cytoskeleton. Specialized ‘motor’ proteins that convert chemical energy into mechanical work associate and move along the polymeric cytoskeleton enabling critical cell functions including intracellular mechanical force generation. We are interested in how the cytoskeleton and associated motor proteins generates forces inside the living cell. This work has applications in understanding diseases of the cardiovascular and muscular system, as well as cancer. We are also developing new biomaterials and nanotechnologies for characterizing and controlling cellular forces.